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We all know how harsh the US government is on piracy and illegal activities, and while we have Vice President Joe Biden saying things like "piracy is theft, clean and simple", the same government he works for was doing just that: stealing.
The US government has been in a multi-million dispute with Apptricity, a software company that makes enterprise software that manages the US Army's troops and supply movements. The deal struck between Apptricity and the US government was signed in 2004, and allowed the US government to use Apptricity's software on five servers and 150 standalone devices.
The company explains: "The Army has used Apptricity's integrated transportation logistics and asset management software across the Middle East and other theaters of operation. The Army has also used the software to coordinate emergency management initiatives, including efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti."
Today PayPal announced that it has began supporting prepaid gift cards through PalPal Checkout for online purchases. This is big business for PayPal and many online retailers who do not normally accept prepaid gift cards because they do not have an address attached to them.
PayPal will be collecting a 2.9-percent fee per purchase as well as a $0.30 per transaction fee each time you swipe the gift card. This new offering from PayPal is yet another push to generate even more revenue streams and should prove to be quite profitable over the holiday season. Would you rather receive a gift or a gift card over the holidays? Let us know in the comments.
Back on October 14th TweakTown first heard a rumor that OCZ was entertaining an offer from Toshiba acquire the company. This was a big deal as OCZ's CEO had recently announced that his company had been having issues acquiring NAND flash modules to build its SSDs. The company had also just posted some very bad losses for Q3 2013, and everything looked ripe for Toshiba to pick up the company for a song.
Soon after, the rumors died down and we mostly thought that they had been just that, Rumors. Fast forward a few weeks and on November 4th, I broke a developing story about Toshiba's stock falling by more than 22-percent in just hours after the market opened. I reached out to OCZ to which a reply never came. By the end of the day, the stock had fallen by more than 30-percent to just $0.65 per share, a 52-week low. Upon opening the next day, OCZ saw its stock fall another 30-percent to $0.44 per share.
By November 9th, OCZ's stock was back up to $0.85 per share which was widely attributed to the release of the new SSD that was seeing great reviews across the web including TweakTown. Ten days later on November 19th, TweakTown received word that OCZ had laid off 15-percent of its workforce in an effort to ease its massive $2 million per month cash burn. It appeared as if the SSD manufacturer was attempting to dig itself out of the deep hole it had fallen into. At this point the company's stock had leveled off at around $0.70 per share.
With OCZ's officially announcing that Toshiba has bought the entirety of its assets but not the company as a whole, trading has opened back up and in just the past few minutes we have seen the stock drop by 75-percent. OCZ opened at $0.35 per share and at the time of this writing is trading at just above $0.168 per share.
The death of OCZ is finally here and with no assets left to compete in the industry, the company will most likely be de-listed by the end of the day. The markets have about an hour left before trading closes and in the time it has taken me to write this paragraph, the stock has fell another few points to just $0.162 per share.
Earlier I reported that trading had been suspended on OCZ's stock, and it appears that there may be more to the story than just having its stock trading halted. Unnamed sources have told TweakTown that Toshiba has quietly completed its acquisition of OCZ's assets as the company prepares to file for bankruptcy and that the companies closed escrow on most of OCZ's assets yesterday.
In a call just weeks ago OCZ's CEO, Ralph Schmitt, stated that in-house manufacturing was halted and a third-party had picked up manufacturing. Weeks later TweakTown reported from the rumor mill that OCZ and Toshiba were talking. Last week Storage Review displayed a picture of an OCZ Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller in a Panasonic SSD. Panasonic is another company based in Japan and has close ties to Toshiba. Panasonic wouldn't release a new SSD with a controller from a company headed for bankruptcy without some inside knowledge.
Now the events over the last 30 days make perfect sense. When a major investor pulled out due to OCZ's cash burn issues, Toshiba swooped in and made the company an offer it could not refuse. This explains the lack of statements made to investors when things started turning south.
Today it appears that the ongoing saga of OCZ's roller coaster ride on the stock market has finally came to an end. Earlier this morning, weeks of ups and downs in the company's share price as well as rumors of massive financial troubles finally came to a head when trading was halted on the SSD manufactures stock.
Trading was suspended after shares failed to rebound above $1 over the last 30 days, and solidifies rumors that the company is quickly approaching its end of life. I have reached out to several industry analyst, and the general conscious appears to be that the company will either file bankruptcy very soon, or someone like Toshiba will swoop in and buy OCZ for pennies on the dollar. Personally I am expecting them to be bought out, as that makes the most sense at this point.
A few weeks back, our own Chris Ramseyer all but predicted today's outcome in his review of OCZ Vector 150 120GB SSD. Chris poised a question, asking if OCZ would be around six months from now, and I guess the answer has arrived.
Over the last year or so, a war has been waging in east Texas between Newegg.com and the notorious patent troll Erich Spangenberg, and today the war is finally over. Jurors departed the court room and returned the guilty verdict after just three hours of deliberations.
Newegg.com was found to infringe upon all four of the patent assets owned by TQP Development, a patent firm owned by Spangenberg. The patent is said to cover SSL and TLS encryption combined with the RC4 cipher. These are protocols and safety measures commonly used by online retailers to ensure their customers information is protected.
Newegg was ordered to pay $2.3 million which is less than half of the $5.1 million TQP was claiming in damages. So what does this mean for Newegg? I would suspect that Newegg will enter into a licensing agreement with TQP and will continue using the system that is in place. Alternatively, Newegg could develop an entirely new system that it could release into the public domain and forever invalidate TQPs patent.
2013 has been one heck of a year for BlackBerry. In the span of just eleven months, the company has launched its next-gen OS and devices, almost went out of business, and seen its CEO resign after no one wanted to buy the company. Today it appears that BlackBerry is attempting to make the changes necessary to turn the company around.
This morning, BlackBerry announced that its Chief Operating Officer, Kristian Tear, and Cheif Marketing Officer, Frank Boulben will no longer be part of the company. Additionally, the company's Chief Financial Officer, Brian Bidulka, will be exiting the company and will be replaced by James Yersh, a long time BlackBerry Exec. Finally, the announcement says that Roger Marti, a member of BlackBerry's board of directors, will be resigning from the Canadian smartphone manufacturer as well.
This major shakeup in management is widely seen as something that should have happen many months ago when BlackBerry first began to circle the drain. Following the ousting of CEO Thorsten Heins, today's announcement should do well to restore some investors faith in the company. With a fresh injection of $1 billion from FairFax Financial, BlackBerry just might manage to turn things around in 2014.
Samsung seems to be struggling in Japan against its biggest rival, Apple. The Korea Herald reports that Samsung's share in the Japanese smartphone space dropped again last quarter, which makes four quarters in a row of decline.
In the last quarter, Samsung sold just one million u nits, while Apple sold close to four times that. Rewinding back twelve months, Samsung was pushing around 1.9 million units a quarter, but each quarter it has dropped significantly. The South Korean electronics giant is now placed fourth in the Japanese market, with Sony coming in second. Apple is currently holding the number one spot in the market.
We thought it had happened last week, but now Apple has confirmed it has acquired PrimeSense. The company works on motion control devices, so this should be an interesting next few years for the iPhone maker.
Apple confirmed the acquisition with AllThingsD, where it said that it does buy smaller companies "from time to time". The company reportedly handed over around $360 million for the deal, which should cement Apple's future in the motion control space. I did think that Apple would use the tech for its Mac range of devices, which I think we'll begin to see teased in the first half of 2014.